According to a previous article on BusinessWeek.com by author Ed Edelson entitled Nerve Stimulation Device Doesn’t Ease Most Back Pain, if you are going to use a transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) device to ease your back pain, don’t bother.
This advice comes directly from the American Academy of Neurology. According to Dr. Richard M. Dubinsky, a professor of neurology at Kansas University Medical Center and chair of practice improvement for the academy, there are no controlled studies showing that TENS is effective against back pain of unknown origin that has persisted for three months or longer. Dr. Dubinsky is the lead author of an article about TENS in a recent online issue of Neurology.
The one type of pain in which TENS was found effective was diabetic nerve pain. There is strong evidence that TENS helps with diabetic neuropathy, which develops in about sixty percent of people with diabetes.
Dr. Dubinsky points out that just because a device is popular or approved by the FDA that does not mean it is effective. For the FDA to approve a device it only has to be approved to be safe. This is different than approval for a pharmaceutical which has to be proven to be safe and effective.
Some people find relief for chronic back pain by choosing a more comfortable mattress than a traditional mattress. Three types of mattresses that are gaining popularity for their comfort and benefits are the memory foam mattress, the air bed, and the natural latex mattress. You can read about each of these by reading our Healthy Foundations Buyer’s Guides.